Listening to Art

02.07: Georgia O'Keeffe, Black Door with Red


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Listening to Art, by William Denton.

Volume two, number seven: Black Door with Red, by Georgia O’Keeffe.

Hello, and welcome to Listening to Art. I’m William Denton.

Black Door with Red was painted in 1954, and if the name Georgia O’Keeffe only brings to mind flower paintings, then this will come as a surprise. It is from a late period in her work (she turned 67 that year) when she was simplifying and working more abstractly.

I quote from Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe, by Laurie Lisle (p. 278):

As she went along, she ruthlessly simplified her image so that it often lost its resemblance to the reality of the initial object. “Nothing is less real than realism—details are confusing,” she was quoted as saying as early as 1922. “It is only by selection, by elimination, by emphasis, that we get at the real meaning of things.”

The subject of this painting appears in other O’Keefe works. Charles C. Eldredge says in Georgia O’Keeffe (p. 143):

[S]he had portrayed the patio’s adobe wall and its dark door on numerous occasions. Many of the paintings were simplified designs of the dark rectangle in the plane of the wall, sometimes reduced to abstraction; others were evocative of place or season, suggested through the inclusion of window lattice or clouds, snowflakes or spring leaves. Both as geometric pattern and as poetic allusion, the patio subject expressed the importance of place, of home.

This is a painting, oil on canvas, 213.4 cm wide by 121.9 cm high.

Now let’s listen to Black Door with Red, by Georgia O’Keeffe, recorded at the Art Gallery of Ontario, in Toronto, on 21 May 2017.

Waveform of the field recording.

That was Black Door with Red by Georgia O’Keeffe. I hope you enjoyed listening to it as much as I did.

For more information and links to things I’ve mentioned, please visit listeningtoart.org.

Listening to Art is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Bibliography

All web sites accessed as of date of publication.

Chrysler Museum of Art. “Black Door with Red.” Works—eMuseum. http://chrysler.emuseum.com/objects/5626/black-door-with-red.

Eldredge, Charles C. Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991.

Lisle, Laurie. Portrait of an Artist: A Biography of Georgia O’Keeffe. New York: Seaview, 1980.

Wikipedia, s.v. “Georgia O’Keeffe,” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_O'Keeffe.